Our work at Cwmcarn Forest - FAQs

Read more about why we had to fell the larch in Cwmcarn and our plans for the future

The redevelopment of Cwmcarn Forest Drive


When are you reopening the drive?

Unfortunately, like many other construction projects, our progress has been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic. This has been unavoidable, but we are constantly reviewing our plans and are doing everything we can to move swiftly towards reopening the drive.


What are the current plans for redeveloping the drive?

We plan to offer something for every type of visitor – from adrenaline seekers to those looking for moments of peace and tranquillity.

We plan to develop a number of all-ability trails opening up access to the forest for all, with many picnic and barbeque areas along the route.

Secluded seating areas are incorporated for those looking for quiet moments of contemplation, and a wooden cabin with panoramic views providing opportunities for outdoor learning and health and wellbeing activities.

For younger visitors, three play areas are planned which will incorporate accessible play furniture and paths, as well as woodland sculptures and sensory tunnels.

Information signs will explain all about the forest’s history, heritage and its wildlife, allowing people to learn more about the forest they love.

What will the different areas be called?

In the past, the areas along the drive have been named carpark 1, 2, 3 etc. However, going forwards, we would like each area to be given a name representing something about the site’s historical/cultural significance.

If you would like to suggest a name for one of the areas, or a theme for the areas identified on the site map overleaf, please email your idea(s) by August 20th 2019, entitling your email ‘Cwmcarn Forest Drive Area Names’ along with your name and a short explanation of your suggestion to: cwmcarn@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk 

Will NRW be involving local people and groups in decisions about the future of the site? 

We know how valued Cwmcarn is to local people and we want them to be part of the discussions around its future. The plans have been developed with input from the community and regular visitors, who put forward suggestions for what they would like to see in the forest at drop in sessions over the summer.


How will NRW keep us informed about the plans?

It’s important to us that the community are involved in our plans every step of the way. We plan to issue newsletters and hold further events on site at Cwmcarn to keep people in the loop as plans progress. If you’d like to receive newsletters from us in the future please email your details to cwmcarn@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk.


How much is it costing to reopen the Forest Drive and how is it being funded?

We have £1,000,000 set aside to reopen the drive. This will include resurfacing works, installation of highway safety infrastructure, and basic amenities such as picnic tables and BBQs.

Further development of recreational areas along the drive will continue in different phases when the drive has been reopened.



The felling operation

What is larch disease? 

Larch disease, or Phytophthora Ramorum, is a fungus like disease can cause extensive damage and mortality to a wide range of trees and other plants which spreads through airborne spores from tree to tree. It poses no threat to human or animal health.  Almost all of the larch trees at Cwmcarn have been infected by larch disease. Whilst we cannot stop the spread of larch disease, we can take action to slow it down.


How much of the forest has been affected? 

Over three-quarters of the trees in the Forest Drive road area of Cwmcarn forest were larch trees - approx. 160,000 trees.  The larch accounted for around 30% of trees across other forest blocks in Cwmcarn forest. 

The felling operation was completed in November 2019.


Why did you have to close Forest Drive Road? 

The safety of the public had to be our number one priority. The Forest Drive road is a single track, one-way road system for most of its length.  The road has been used for site harvesting equipment during operations. Timber has been stored directly on or adjacent to the road and loaded onto lorries.  Large haulage lorries therefore needed to travel along the road at regular intervals.

Have you planted new trees to replace the larch? 

Replanting began in January 2017, with the introduction of 170,000 new, young trees being planted in areas where the larch had been clear felled. These included a mixture of native broadleaf and conifer.

Unfortunately many of the newly planted trees were subsequently destroyed in the summer of 2018 following after fires were deliberately set during extremely hot and dry conditions.

The damage caused by the fire has caused a huge set back to our restocking efforts, but work continues to stock new trees. An additional 30,000 trees have been planted to replace those damaged by the fire, and we plan to plan another 30,000 during summer 2019.